RIGA - To put it mildly, Latvia has a lot of rock bands. I once heard (from a not so reliable and rather drunk source) that there were 20,000 rock bands in a country of just over two million people 's about one band for every 100 residents.
While that statistic may have been a bit of an over-exaggeration, the fact of the matter is that there are far more bands than there is a market for Latvian rock. That's why it is so exciting to hear someone come out with fresh sounds, and watch as they rise to stardom.
Mona De Bo is on the rise. The two-member band has only been together for about two years, but already they are putting together regular gigs and have just finished recording their first album.
"The new album consists of 10 songs 's very different songs with some loud rock music and some quiet ballads, a very diverse sound," drummer Edgars Rubenis told TBT.
Making records, however, is not the main aim of the two musicians. Mona De Bo is a live music band; they focus on putting as much energy as possible into their music while on stage. They even said on their CD, around 70 's 80 percent of the songs were recorded live.
The band is even preparing for a trip to the states to take part in a major music conference this spring. Despite the tough competition, Mona De Bo is confident in their abilities.
"On March 10 we will go to the [United] States for the South by Southwest music conference. We will be a drop in the sea of music along with 1600 bands in three or four days. We will win," lead guitar player Edgars Eihmanis said.
However confident the pair may be, they are also practical about the U.S. trip and see a good number of opportunities to be had there.
"I think we are going to get some great inspiration, some good sounds, and maybe we will even get some valuable contact for the future, to get a full tour around the States. Maybe someone will get interested in the recording, in the album. Also it is good for the CV to say that we played in the U.S.," Rubenis said.
It is hard to pin down exactly what kind of music Mona De Bo plays 's they have a very unique sound. Their list of influences is so long they don't even bother trying to name bands, preferring to focus on the music itself rather than any one particular artist.
"I used to have a big blues period when I was younger, at that time I could have told you a list of specific names, but since then I have become more open to the music 's not to the artists but to the essence of the music itself. It is even hard now to say who I listen to," Eihmanis said.
As success starts to take hold of this aspiring band, their schedule is becoming more and more hectic.
"We just arrived two days ago [Jan. 30] from Sweden where we recorded. We still have to cross the sound and work everything out 's it will be released in April. Tomorrow [Feb. 2] we have the first rehearsal for a theater show in Valmiera, the first show will be on the 7th of March. Then [three days later] we go to the States," Rubenis said.
So, everyone out there who is sick of the same old rock and looking for a fresh up-and-coming band, is in luck. With live shows coming ever more frequently and a quickly growing fan base in Latvia and Estonia, Mona De Bo could be the band to break Latvia out of its Rock'n'Roll rut.
Mona De Bowww.myspace.com/monadebo